2016 Volume 5 Issue 2 Pages 61-69
Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) is a potentially lethal systemic disorder that is characterized by necrotizing vasculitis of small arteries and veins. The respiratory system is most commonly affected in limited forms of the disease, however upper and lower respiratory system, systemic vasculitis, and necrotizing glomerulonephritis are the characteristic components of the disease triad. The peak incidence is observed at 64-75 years of age, with a prevalence of 8-10 per million depending on geographic location. In this review we focus on the ocular manifestations of the disease which occur in nearly in one third of the patients. In addition we describe the neuro-ophthalmic complications which occur in up to half of cases. We also discuss the current systemic treatment options including corticosteroids, cyclophosphamide, azathioprine, and the available biologic response modifiers including rituximab. The disease remains difficult to diagnose due to the generalized symptomatic presentation of patients with GPA. As a result, several sets of diagnostic criteria have been developed which include clinical, serological, and histopathological findings to varying extents. Early diagnosis and multi-specialty collaboration among physicians is necessary to adequately manage the disease and the potential complications that may result from drugs used in the treatment of the disease. Despite recent advances, more research is necessary to prevent the high rates of mortality from the disease itself and from therapeutic side effects.